The Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force Newsletter

 
March 2011
In This Issue
Spotlight on Service
Task Force in Action: U.P.E.M. Fetival
Upcoming Events
Task Force in Action: Save Your Home Event
Counselor's Corner
24/7 Homeowner Assistance
Social Media

Spotlight on Service

 

This month's newsletter will focus on Ben Candler's contributions to the Task Force. Ben, with Hope-GMAC Mortgage, is a current board member.  

 

 

Q: What are your main duties and roles as Chair of the Strategic Planning Team?

 

A: I try to identify and research new topics and issues that can help homeowners in our community avoid foreclosure.

 

 

Q: What has been one highlight during your time with the Task Force?

 

 A: Attending the joint meeting with Representative Debbie McCune Davis and strengthening the bond between the legislative offices and the Task Force.

 

Q: How does your past/current work expertise play a part in your role with the Task Force?

 

A: I meet individually with distressed homeowners to advise them of their options so I understand how critical the counselor community is to help avoid foreclosure and why we need to improve efforts to promote it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  

Dear Task Force Supporter,

     Through the success of the Az Foreclosure Hotline number and our housing counseling agencies, both continue to gain exposure.  In a recent announcement, NeighborWorks America noted that counseled homeowners had almost 70% or 1.7 times - higher relative odds of curing their foreclosure and an average of the loan modification payment reduced by $267 more each month - than they would have without meeting with a counselor. (Neighborworks America Press Release, 12/20/10) That is great news, but our work is far from over.  

 

      We continue to strive to educate and bring public awareness of the hotline number and free counseling services to the families - not just within our local communities, but in the State of Arizona.  We anticipate many communities beginning to see the positive results of these efforts. 

 

     On the rise and just as important, more and more families are victims of a scam.  Often times we hear from families, "they guaranteed us a modification."  Knowing the signs of a scam is critical, but reporting a scam is just as important for homeowners who believe they have been victimized. Whether they have been scammed or just approached by a scammer, homeowners should fight back and report these scam artists to authorities.  But many homeowners decide not to report. Why? They have used words like embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed to explain why they didn't come forward. But remember, reporting scams to authorities is one of the best ways to get more scammers off the street and protect others.

 

     Today, we continue to promote the Az Hotline # 1-877-448-1211 in helping our families who may be at risk of foreclosure or scammed. Thank you for your continued volunteer efforts in helping the families in the community.  

 

     I close with this quote:  "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do".  ~John Wooden

 
Sylvia Waynick, Project Manager

Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

swaynick@nhsphoenix.org

Task Force in Action: U.P.E.M. Festival

 

     The Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force took part in the 14th Annual U.P.E.M. (Unidos Padres, Estudiantes, and Maestros)multicultural festival and parade on February 26th. The parade traveled through two miles of the Issac community in West Phoenix, and concluded at Carl Hayden High School for the festival. The Task Force distributed our Foreclosure Information Workbook and loan modification scam prevention materials at the event. The bright yellow "loan scam alert bags" were a big hit at the festival and provided a convenient way to help spread our message! Check out Sylvia Waynick, Project Manager of the Task Force, in action below! 

 

 

 

  
Upcoming Events

     The Task Force now has a new and improved calendar that contains frequent additions on our website. Please check our calendar at: http://www.azforeclosureprevention.org/calendar.htm
 
The Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force relies on volunteer participation to make a difference! Please contact Sylvia Waynick (Project Manager) at swaynick@nhsphoenix.org to schedule your support. 

Task Force in Action: Save Your Home Event

 

     The City of Phoenix and the Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force collaborated to produce a "Helping Homeowners Prevent Foreclosure" event at Tomahawk Elementary in West Phoenix on February 24th. The event featured the presentation of a video that discussed homeowner's options to prevent foreclosure, the foreclosure process in Arizona, and how to avoid loan modification scams. The video, which runs on PHX11, includes a piece by Patricia Garcia Duarte who is Chair of the Task Force. Patricia covers the different modification programs that are available to homeowners in distress.    

 

        Tryone Hibbs from the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department was one of the event's organizers and was also on hand to help facilitate the presentation to the community. Tyrone said he hopes the event will be the first of many similar outreach efforts in the valley. He said the City of Phoenix is planning on "one event in each council district, and others if people want them." Tryone stressed the significance of choosing Tomahawk Elementary, in the 85033 area code, as the location of the community meeting. He described this area code as "the middle of ground zero for the foreclosure crisis." According to Tyrone there are 571 bank owned properties and 747 pending foreclosures in the 85033 area code. Finally, Tyrone said the main goal of events like this are for "people in a delinquent situation to sit down with a counselor and find out what steps they need to take to request a loan modification." 

 

 

 

      Another important component of the event was the availability of HUD counselors to provide initial guidance to the event's attendees. Three counselors were on hand to outline possible options for homeowners facing foreclosure. Dollie Medina, foreclosure intervention counselor with LCSA, said she wants "to make people realize there is free help out there." Dollie and the other counselors offered an important service to a community in desperate need of assistance. She said she was volunteering with the Task Force to "help an area with a major foreclosure problem." 

 

 

 

 

Counselor's Corner

 

     Each month's newsletter will include a discussion with those in the trenches of the foreclosure crisis in the State, a non-profit HUD counselor. This month's edition focuses on some insights relayed by Rita Johnson of Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix. 

 

     Rita has come across numerous clients who have either fallen victim to loan modification scams or those who have been solicited by scammers. She stresses the importance of educating homeowners in distress about the common warning signs of loan modification scams. In addition, Rita passes on examples of scam letters that her client's receive to Sylvia Waynick, Project Manager of the Task Force. Rita said investors "use public resources to find out what houses are up for Trustee's sale for and hope to take advantage."

    

     Rita said a successful loan modification is most often the result of a counselor and client working as a cohesive unit.  She advises her clients to "be very pro-active by calling the servicer every two weeks to check the status of their file." Rita urges clients to forward requested documents as soon as possible to the servicer to ensure a quicker decision. Finally, Rita said clients "need to have an increased awareness of what is going on with their home."

24/7 Homeowner Assistance    

     The Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Hotline at 1-877-448-1211 is a free and confidential helpline that refers families in distress to a local foreclosure intervention counselor. The hotline, in operation since 2008, was made possible by a $1.3 million federal grant to the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH). The ADOH contracts with Community Information and Referral Services to staff the call center. The Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force's role is to help expand the visibility of the hotline's number and direct community members to this important service. Here are some telling results from the 2010 hotline report:
  • There were 11,822 callers to the hotline.
  • 8,745 callers were referred to a service provider, including counseling agencies.
  • The three most common ways that callers heard about the hotline were through professional connections, brochures or flyers, and the internet. 

      Please help us continue to utilize this valuable resource that connects families with an important opportunity to save their home. Our community members need to be aware that foreclosure assistance is always free and offered through certified counselors. 

Social Media Presence 

     The Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force is utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to display our latest happenings and post information related to our mission! 

 

Please be sure to find the task force on these sites and encourage your friends and colleagues to offer their support as well! 

 

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Please contact me with any feedback on the newsletter or if you have any information you would like to see highlighted in upcoming editions. 
 
Sincerely,


Seth Stuart, Project Coordinator

Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

sstuart@nhsphoenix.org